Barbara ‘Babs’ Fry lives and works in San Diego. She is a real estate agent and founder of the nonprofit A Way Home for Animals, Inc. She is also a real-life pet detective whose assistance has made it possible for hundreds of lost dogs to be reunited with their families. This work is her passion and she does it for FREE.
Babs started her nonprofit as a means to disseminate life-saving information to people who have lost their dogs. She has a skill set and method that she has fine-tuned over the past several years finding lost dogs. And it obviously works. She has brought hundreds of dogs back home. She is contacted by around 500 people PER DAY for help finding lost dogs. She is able to help 6-12 per day in one way or another.
Babs has a gift. She has a sixth sense. And she has a tried and true method that has been put to the test and refined over years. She says that most humans rely on their instincts to find dogs but what they should be doing, is relying on their dog’s instincts. She told San Diego Community News Group,
“I set up my nonprofit for the primary purpose of supporting pet owners in taking the appropriate steps to set both themselves, and their dogs, up for success (in being reunited),” she said. “That means, specifically, how to avoid making mistakes.”
Most Humans Make One Big Mistake When Looking for a Lost Dog
Babs says that most people make positive moves towards finding their pet in the first 24 hours. They post to social media, inform neighbors, and ask people to report sightings. These are all good and necessary steps. However, after the first 24 hours, panic sets in and humans start taking steps that are counterproductive to bringing their pet home. The biggest mistake? Searching high and low, walking all over the place looking. What?! Here’s why.
According to Babs, the ticket to bringing your dog back home is to rely on scent, not sight. When humans go out searching for their dog, they spread their scent far and wide. Further, if the dog manages to sniff it’s way back home, the doors are closed so they leave again. She told San Diego Community News Group,
“They run out and look for their dog everywhere, spreading their scent all around,” Fry said. “They very rarely leave their doors open. The dog gets back. But everything is very buttoned up, so they leave again.”
Babs says that dogs very rarely end up dying of dehydration or starvation when they get lost. They will find food and water. They can smell those things from a mile or more away. She says that other people, vehicles, and predators are the real worries when it comes to a failed recovery.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Finding Your Lost Dog
In order to avoid mistakes that could make the difference between finding your lost dog and never seeing him again, follow these do’s and don’ts.
- Wait patiently at the scene for as long as possible. Stay put so your dog can come back following your scent. “Let the dog come back to you.”
- When you must go home, take a dirty sock, t-shirt, or underwear that has been close to your skin and place them outside of your home. This is another scent lure.
- Set up a “meat trap” using odorous meats. This is done based on investigative work. For example, after a neighbor saw your dog running up a hill, the meat and water would be placed at the foot of the hill.
- Broadcast that your dog is missing using social media, posters, and word of mouth. Ask people to report sightings rather than attempt to retrieve your dog. She will be frightened and run away again.
- Use sighting reports to use scent-based lures like clothing or food.
- Leave doors open so that your dog has a way to get inside when they return home.
- Leave the scene and start searching for your dog. You are spreading your scent and making it more difficult for your dog to come back to you.
- Close up your house so your dog has no way of coming inside when they return.
- Chase your dog or yell their name. This will only drive them further away.
Babs Fry is a dog hero! Her work has made it possible to have hundreds of happy endings to dog disappearances. If your dog gets loose or spooked, follow her tips to bring your beloved dog home. You can follow Babs and support her free pet detecting on Facebook.